Chattanooga State Community College announced the winners of 2020-2021 Employee Excellence Awards. Excellence Award winners all embrace the characteristics of teamwork, integrity, productivity, and professionalism to ensure student success. This year’s winners include Rebecca Aslinger, Jeffery Long, Tabitha Banks, Doug Morris, and Susan Jennings.
Rebecca Aslinger, Community College Teaching Excellence Award. With extensive teaching experience, Ms. Aslinger, an assistant professor of Early Childhood Education, possesses a deep knowledge base and brings unparalleled energy to the classroom on a daily basis. Her focus on student success compels her to absorb additional knowledge through learning opportunities such as high impact practices that in turn benefit her students, while her flexibility to meet the needs of her students, such as moving a class to Saturdays, made a direct impact in the classroom. Rebecca sits on one state and two local boards, has presented at several conferences, and was named a Faculty Fellow in 2019-2020. “Rebecca is an engaging teacher who never ceases in her desire to learn and share her passion for teaching with her students,” noted Angie Wood, associate professor, geography, and education.
Jeffery Long, Technical College Teaching Excellence Award. Known as an individual who leads by example, Jeffery Long, associate instructor of Industrial Maintenance Technology, is also known for innovative ways to make the education process better thereby enabling his students to excel. Mr. Long combines his more than 20 years of teaching experience with certifications in robotics and through the National Coalition of Certification Centers (NC3) to cultivate the learning process. “When the pandemic forced students and instructors’ home, Mr. Long found ways to engage, instruct, motivate, and monitor his classes,” stated David Burgess, instructor of Industrial Maintenance. Jeff also found computers for his students without access to technology and actually built some computers from pieces of old ones to make sure no student was left behind during this unprecedented event. “In addition, he shared newer, more modern curriculum delivery ideas with his colleagues, which have since been implemented helping to move this program into the future,” shared Burgess.
Doug Morris, Support Staff Excellence Award (tie). As lead mail carrier, Doug Morris is well known on campus for his friendliness and willingness to go that extra step to help anywhere needed. When mail “needs to go out,” Mr. Morris is always ready and willing to make that extra trip to the post office when “it has to get there fast,” stated Cathy Hughes, Plant Operations office supervisor. During the pandemic, Doug went above and beyond to fulfill his job responsibilities, often coming in early or staying late to ensure the consistency of flow for incoming and outgoing mail. Terry Hunt, computer technician, described Doug as a “one-man band postman” because he is so organized and efficient, while Linda Bales Jewusiak, TCAT executive division secretary, added, “Even during a shutdown having mail service was crucial, but we knew we could depend on Doug to make it happen.”
Tabitha Banks, Support Staff Excellence Award (tie). “Uplifting” is a word used to describe Tabitha (Tab) Banks, Social and Behavioral Sciences administrative assistant. “Not only does she put student success first, but she stands for employee empowerment and never wavers, even in times of uncertainty,” noted Silang Sam, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion administrative assistant. Tab’s concern for others is not lost on her colleagues’ campus wide. As current president of the Support Staff Association, Tabitha provides words of encouragement, helpful resources, and is constantly thinking of ideas to build morale, including looking for ways to include employees that do not have the opportunity to get involved due to their position responsibilities. While working hard to make everyone a part of the team at Chattanooga State, Carolyn Clark, retired Math and Science administrative assistant, described Tab as a “true motivator and team player.” In addition to the other attributes of Ms. Banks, her recent completion of the ChattLead program will continue to add to her leadership abilities.
Susan Jennings, Professional Staff Excellence Award. When the lines of communication were impacted by COVID, Susan Jennings, Library Services dean, set up chat services for all the offices and divisions on campus. “Because of Susan, campus offices were able to communicate with students via chat when their physical facilities were closed,” stated Andrea Kincaid, Kolwyck Library, and Information Commons (KLIC) librarian. With more than 9,000 chats documented between March to September 2020, Kincaid said, “I wonder what we would have done without this vital service.” In addition to this important service, Ms. Kincaid noted that Dean Jennings is a leader in her profession of librarianship and that there is no job too big or too small for her in which she participates. Elaborating upon Susan’s innovative solution affecting students, Angelina Blevins, Math Center coordinator, said that Susan and her staff have made Chattanooga State a true community campus. “Susan worked toward a solution when resources were unavailable by finding a way to make them available.”
Nominated by Chattanooga State colleagues, the Employee Excellence Award Selection Committee is chaired by a Chattanooga State Foundation Board member and includes two representatives each from the Faculty Senate, Professional Staff Association, and Support Staff Association. Winners are gifted with a $750 award funded by the Chattanooga State Foundation.